The Oklahoma City Thunder old core of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden could be immortalized as part of the Most Valuable Player club, with the latter having a trailblazing season for the Houston Rockets. Westbrook could be passing the MVP award to one of his buddies in Harden.
Durant, the first one of the three to win it in 2014, offered some perspective on the coveted award.
“It's a club. Exactly,” said Durant, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “You want to be in that club of great players saying I got one of those, too, for my hard work. You don't need something to stand on, but, man, to see yourself in that group with the MJs, the LeBrons, the Kobes, you just want to be a part of that group.”
“That's what it's all about. It's about the hoopers. You want to be among the elite.”
Yet the Golden State Warriors forward wouldn't undermine the man who put them on the map, nurturing them early in their careers, looking back to their years together.
“To see it, it's incredible. It shows the coaching we had — Scott Brooks allowed us to be who we are,” said Durant. “That's an underrated part. He allowed us to make mistakes and learn from them.”
“I remember when he first became coach, he handed over the point guard reigns to Russ (taking Earl Watson's job). Russ played well, then struggled. It was up and down. Scotty Brooks always encouraged him.
Then with me, I was still learning how to play the game, trying to think about something other than scoring. Then with James, he came in and Scotty coached him up hard, taught him how to be a professional.”
To think so much young talent was part of one team is mind-blowing, but the talent also had to be harnessed and taught throughout the process. Brooks was the man beyond it all, being patient and allowing experience to be the ultimate teacher — sticking with his young core throughout success and failure — ultimately molding them into MVP-caliber players.